“I have met the enemy and he is us.”
This confession from a comic strip character, Pogo, reveals an extraordinary moment of insight, an insight rarely displayed in our long history of endless war, political intrigue, and societal mind control. When we are unable to perceive our light, we play a game of shadows. We seem to prove others wrong to make ourselves look right. We project others as guilty to absolve our own shame. We pull each other down to distract from our own inadequacies and guilt. We attack those who are most dear to us to mask our own unmet needs. We do unto others what we most judge about ourselves. We whitewash everything with fictitious justifications of righteousness and superiority. These mind games tend to be for the most part unconscious, meaning we are not generally aware of them. We are genuinely convinced that we are right and believe that our adversary is at fault. We feel that we are more worthy, more deserving, more righteous than the other players in the game. Once so convinced, it is but a small step from interpersonal conflicts to global wars, whether fought for land, power, prestige, control or ideological advancement.
The need for an enemy is hardwired into the human psyche. On a personal level, we are too familiar with the silly dramas being constantly played out in daily life, providing our fragile egos with a sense of being special, we cannot otherwise experience. When these same fragile egos are placed in positions of political influence, we have war. There is nothing more heroic than the act of uniting against a common enemy, chanting our litanies of self-righteous outrage while flocking to defend a precious national identity. We demonise the other side to justify slaughter, silence any voices of dissension that call for diplomacy or sanity and quietly cover up the lies, corruption, and crimes we may ourselves be committing.
We are all familiar with psychological defence mechanisms such as projection, repression and denial. These are for the most part unconscious, meaning we may not be consciously aware of our underlying motivations as we wander through the daze of interpersonal conflicts and war games. We justify the need for an enemy because we don’t trust the right use of power. When power games are used to deliberately manipulate an unconscious population we become truly dangerous and diabolical. The need for an enemy has brought our species to the edge of extinction. Pogo’s revolutionary insight is the first step in the road to recovery. The darkness we project on our created enemies conceals our most brilliant light. The shadows we deny reveal our greatest gifts. The pain we have repressed is the mask of our most profound love. When we see this clearly, we shall not feel the need to manipulate someone else in order to experience who we already are. We will not allow someone else to manipulate our own choices and emotional responses. We will drop the masks of pretence that keeps us veiled from our own unique radiance. We will gaze into the mirror of our deepest truth and walk this earth as gods.
, MA, is a psychotherapist and author, whose great passion has been to investigate the journey of human evolution in the context of long-range cycles of time. He has approached this study through the eyes of shamans, geologists, historians, physicists, prophets and mystics, and come to the firm conviction that we stand collectively at the brink of a quantum evolutionary leap beyond our wildest dreams.